Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezKasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage MORE (D-N.J.) defended his introduction of an immigration bill just before leaving for the campaign recess as either an opportunity for lawmakers to take up the legislation either in the lame-duck session or in the next Congress.

Menendez, who along with Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic primary fight shifts to South Carolina, Nevada Democrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire Dem leader says party can include abortion opponents MORE (D-Ill.) met with President Obama last month to press immigration reform, introduced a bill (S.3932) on Wednesday with co-sponsor Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBattle over timing complicates Democratic shutdown strategy Hillicon Valley: Russia 'amplifying' concerns around mail-in voting to undermine election | Facebook and Twitter take steps to limit Trump remarks on voting | Facebook to block political ads ahead of election Top Democrats press Trump to sanction Russian individuals over 2020 election interference efforts MORE (D-Vt.).

Menendez was asked Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" about the timing of introducing such legislation, and said it was important to have a bill on the table in case of any eventuality.

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"If we're going to have any opportunity to consider the possiblity of lame-duck movement on it," he said, noting that retiring members may be more willing to push for it, "you need something to jump off from."

"If next Congress you need something as foundation," the bill will be there, Menendez said, adding that the legislation also served as an "invitation to bring Republican colleagues to discussion" on immigration reform.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCalls grow for Biden to expand election map in final sprint Bipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Chamber of Commerce endorses McSally for reelection MORE (R-Texas), appearing along with Menendez on the program, said the timing of the bill's introduction was bad.

"It's a much too important issue to be treated as a political football," Cornyn said.